With a heavy heart, The Japan Foundation, Toronto sends our condolences to the people of Okinawa with the recent news that a fire has destroyed much of Shuri Castle in Okinawa, a UNESCO World Heritage site that dates back 500 years. The ancient castle is a symbol of Okinawa’s cultural heritage, and also an important cultural and historical symbol for Japan and for cultures around the world.
The planned Okinawa Film series will continue, but take on a different significance with news of this tragedy. We encourage you to come out to show support and learn more about this beautiful region.
The Okinawa Film Series celebrates the diverse and rich culture of Okinawa. The first two programs will be made up of seven short films. See the beauty and rich culture of Okinawa through the people and stories told in the OKINAWA FILM series.
Films courtesy of the generosity of the Okinawa Visitors Bureau and Okinawa Film Office.
Okinawa Film Series PROGRAM ONE
THE DEER IN ME
Directed by Kenji Tabuchi (2012) 15 min.
Asuka, a fledgling actress from Tokyo, visits Aka Island, one of the outlying islands of Okinawa in the southern seas of Japan. Takeshi, a junior school student and the son of the guesthouse owner, is uncomfortable being in front of an actress who he has seen only on TV; yet he is asked to take Asuka on a tour of the island. While walking the island, Asuka sees a Kerama deer, a natural treasure. As she listens to Takeshi’s father tell the story about the Kerama deer, Asuka has flashbacks of harsh words of her co-workers and becomes depressed. Life on the island with Jo gradually changes Asuka’s outlook.
Directed by Takako Miyahira (2015) 20 min.
“Wanna know a secret?” Lan, the new, quiet girl in class gives Mie and Hana an origami rabbit. In the rabbit’s folds hides a treasure map. Answering riddles one by one leads Mie and Hana to an adventure through Naha, a city shared by the old and the new, children and grownups. Between Lan’s lies and truths, the two find a great treasure hidden in the City.
Directed by Ryugo Nakamura (2008) 10 min.
This story takes place in a hamlet in Yanbaru, where old Okinawan scenery still remains. A goat, carefully raised by an old man for his son’s wedding celebration, runs away on the day of the wedding, causing an upheaval in the village. As the goat runs away in frenzy, what it sees is the beautiful scenery of Okinawa. The goat meets a young boy, and becomes aware of its own fate…
THE PATH OF THE KUMIODORI
Directed by Chikako Yamashiro, Atsushi Sunagawa (2013) 20 min.
Museum worker Takeshi Kamiya manages to find time every day to practice the traditional Ryukyu art of “Kumiodori” (traditional Okinawan musical theater) and shows the path of the artist as he works and performs on stage.
His son had experienced lonely days without his father who was almost never home between his time practicing and appearing on stage, but eventually decides to join his busy father in aiming to be a performer of “Kumiodori”. That is when he meets “Marumun”, the embodiment of traditional arts, which dwells in the theatre.
The entire cast of this film consists of actual performers, who relate the process of how Kumiodori is created, as well as the meaning of the subtle theatrical motions and postures.
Okinawa Film Series PROGRAM TWO
THE CHOSEN ONE
Directed by Gori (2016) 20 min.
Aboard a cruise ship heading from Taiwan to Ishigakijima, a young Taiwanese man (Yenda Chen) is staring at a letter as he ponders to himself, “Am I the chosen one?” Set in Ishigakijima, Okinawa Prefecture, one of the “Top Three Star-gazing Sites” in Japan, this film is a heartwarming comedy of how an insecure young man’s destiny begins to change because of a message found in a bottle by the seaside.
Directed by Judy Sachiko Fukumoto (2012) 20 min.
Meiling Lan, an actress from Taiwan, comes to Okinawa looking forward to a vacation stay at a high-class resort to relieve herself of job stress. But the place she reserved, “KAFUU”, was a guesthouse similar only in name to a high-end hotel. The guesthouse was run by just three people, quiet Ai and talkative Satoru, and Oba (old lady), the brisk guesthouse owner. Meiling’s hopes for a dream vacation is shattered to pieces…
MOTHER OF THE GROOM
Directed by Tsukasa Kishimoto (2011) 26 min.
Eiichi, who hasn’t been back home to the island he left years ago, has returned to announce the engagement to his fiancee Shiori whom he met in Tokyo.
The matriarchs don’t approve of the bride-to-be, setting off a series of battles. To be accepted as a member of the Okinawan family, the fiancee is tasked to help out with Ukui, a traditional Okinawan event. Ukui is a ritual to see off the ancestral spirits back to the other world on the last day of Obon (a festival to honor the spirit of the ancestors).
Generously Supported by: Okinawa Visitors Bureau and Okinawa Film Office
Community Partner: Toronto Kyuyokai